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  • There are, happily, new breeds of coffee plants being bred to cope with climate change. The Toronto Star reports.

  • High labour and infrastructure costs means that Ethiopia is the only African power likely to challenge China in manufactures. Quartz reports.

  • Wired's Kevin Kelly is perhaps on a limb in suggesting the lifestyle of Mongolian nomads is a viable world model.

  • The flowing waters of icy Mars were icy, as Universe Today reports.

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  • Up to a third of the island of Molokai, in Hawaii, is for sale, but the land comes with strings attached. Bloomberg reports.

  • Threats from North Korea are encouraging people in Hawaii to consider how to minimize risks of nuclear attack. The National Post reports.

  • Most Hawaiian islands, save Kauai, are apparently facing a growing shortage of doctors. U.S. News and World Report looks at the issue.

  • I strongly approve of the idea of coffee leaf tea becoming the next big thing for agriculture in Hawaii. This press release hints at encouraging potential.

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  • National Geographic reports on how, unchecked, global warming may wreck the coffee industry of Uganda.

  • Aeon notes the nervous system of the ctenophore, product of a separate evolutionary process from our own.

  • Phys.org describes a recent study suggesting Easter Island was not wrecked by ecocide. (The Rapanui were devastated by others, I would add.)

  • Even with an active magnetic field, an Earth-like atmosphere of Proxima Centauri b might be eroded away by flares. Universe Today reports on the climate model making this prediction.

  • Does bizarre Przybylski’s star, HD 101065, contain exotic superheavy elements in its atmosphere? New Scientist wonders.

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Coffee Time, Dupont and Lansdowne #toronto #wallaceemerson #dupontstreet #lansdowneave #coffeetime

The Coffee Time restaurant located at 1005 Lansdowne Avenue, on the northeastern corner of Lansdowne and Dupont, has long had a bit of a scary reputation. The restaurant's lone reviewer at Yelp rates it only one star, noting that the crowd hanging out here, in a traditionally poor neighbourhood close to apartment towers once linked to crime including drugs and prositution, is "interesting."

The transformation of the neighbourhood into one populated by tall condos and relatively affordable rentals is ongoing. Will this Coffee Time survive, or will its legacy be reduced to passing mentions in archived discussion threads about a neigbourhood transformed beyond recognition, like here and here? And what will become of the crowd?
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  • Global News notes one study suggesting coffee can extend human lives. My morning pot is worthwhile, then!

  • National Geographic features an interview with Ben Mezrich talking about how cloning and genetic engineering can bring back the mammoth.

  • CBC News reports on the discovery of ultra-cool dwarf star EBLM J0555-57Ab, smaller than TRAPPIST-1, even.

  • Jacobin Magazine has a stirring essay by Nick Levine calling space colonization and space resources to be shared equitably.

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  • blogTO shares photos of Toronto streets in the 1960s, cluttered by signage.

  • Crooked Timber and the LRB Blog respond to the death of Fidel Castro.

  • Far Outliers looks at the exploitative but functional British treatment of servants.

  • Language Hat notes the insensitivity of machine translation and examines the evolution of the Spanish language.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money advocates for an energized public response to racist displays in Trump's America.

  • The Map Room Blog looks at a controversial Brexit art exhibition.

  • Marginal Revolution notes a pay by the minute coffee shop in Brooklyn.

  • The NYRB Daily shares images of Hokusai.

  • The Planetary Society Blog shares beautiful space photos.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how terror famines were used to russify peripheral areas of the Soviet Union, reports on strengthening religion among younger Daghestanis, and suggests there will be larger Russian deployments in Belarus.

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  • Antipope shares a guest essay by an author pointing out how duelling was a social plague.

  • 'Nathan Smith's Apostrophen shares an essay noting that being a Donald Trump supporter who reads gay romance is a contradiction.

  • Beyond the Beyond notes new European Union interest in defense integration.

  • blogTO reports that a Torontonian designed the new Starbucks holiday cup.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly wonders how much our parents shape us.

  • D-Brief looks at Semantic Scholar, an AI tool for scholars.

  • The Dragon's Tales reports on methane humidity near Titan's surface and an active drainage system.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the interest of Florida attorney-general Pam Bondi at the interest of serving in the administration of Donald Trump.

  • Language Hat shares a lovely poem translated from the Russian.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the upsurge in hate crimes post-election in the United States.

  • The LRB Blog shares one man's memories of Leonard Cohen.

  • Marginal Revolution notes the problems of Saudi Arabia.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the largely negative effect of the Internet, and social media, on the election.

  • Savage Minds notes how anthropology teachers can teach the Trump election.

  • Towleroad shares RuPaul's horror at the election.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues the Gary Johnson candidacy helped Hillary, though by not enough.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that a state ideology would make Russia totalitarian.

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  • A BCer in Toronto mourns the declining standards behind the Tim Horton's apple fritter.

  • blogTO notes that the Toronto vs everybody T-shirt has been redone in the original Iroquoian.

  • Centauri Dreams considers Project Orion.

  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage North Korean anti-American art.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper suggesting that Mars' climate may have been cold but for impacts and volcanism.

  • Far Outliers examines the booming Nanjing of the 1930s.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the Long Island Universiy strike.

  • The NYRB Daily examines Hillary Clinton's troubles.

  • Personal Reflections uses a bus fire to examine the fragility of modern systems.

  • Towleroad shares news, and footage, of a Tom of Finland biopic.

  • Window on Eurasia links to a report sharing the costs of Russian aggression in Ukraine, including at least ten thousand people reported dead.

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blogTO reports on trouble down in The Beaches.

The Beaches might one of Toronto's most idyllic neighbourhoods, but there's trouble brewing by the water. That's because some residents are unhappy with the chain restaurants at 1681 Lake Shore Blvd. E., in Woodbine Park.

Local company Tuggs Inc., currently has a 20 year lease on the boardwalk properties (it used to run the Boardwalk Cafe) as well as at other neighbourhood spots, including concessions at Kew Gardens and the Donald D. Summerville Pool.

As the Toronto Star writes, Tuggs got its long lease in order to keep mom-and-pop shops by the beach. Yet a Carters Landing (an establishment owned by restaurant giant Cara Operations Limited) and a Tim Hortons have since moved in.

Now, Tuggs is trying to a reassign a portion of its lease to Cara. City Council will debate this item, likely at its October 5 meeting.
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Savage Minds hosts an essay by William Cotter and Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson looking at the cultural and ethical complexities of specialty coffee.

If you’re in academia, you probably have a very close relationship with coffee. For most Americans, coffee feels like a necessary part of our day, crucial to our higher-order cognitive functioning. Coffee has been a staple in American households and workplaces for over 100 years, and coffee as a commodity is one of the most widely traded and profitable items on the international market (Pendergrast 1999). In early 19th century, coffee served as a strong index for the elite classes of American society. It was expensive, often challenging to obtain, and was consumed primarily within prestigious social circles. However, the increasing reach of white European imperialism and the fine-tuning of the mechanisms of colonial trade and exploitation led to such resources becoming accessible to a wider range of consumers. In less than a century, the notion of coffee as a beverage consumed in the drawing rooms of the upper crust eroded. Coffee instead became a ubiquitous fixture of the American working class, tied to notions of cheery productivity and the booming prosperity of the American labor force (Jimenez 1995).

Despite the place of coffee as a common fixture in the American psyche, there is an accumulation of evidence to suggest that the social meaning of coffee is again shifting. Today, it seems that coffee is being enregistered (Agha 2003), or is coming to be seen as, a symbol of a “higher class” America. But instead of the narrowly defined American elite of the past, coffee, and specifically “specialty” or “craft” coffee, is becoming an increasingly important part of the “yuppie”, “hipster” experience. Craft coffee in the United States is an industry of skilled artisans, focused on delivering handmade products to their communities. This reorientation in the American coffee industry towards a more craft-focused ideal is closely tied to the emergence and growth of independent micro-roasters and coffee shops that offer a “local”, community-centered alternative to the mass market coffee franchises that have until recently dominated the landscape of American coffee consumption (Roseberry 1996).

But specialty coffee, like other craft industries in the United States, comes with a high price tag. While the $.99 cup of coffee still exists, the world of specialty coffee is limited to those who can economically participate in the industry by paying $5 or more for a cup of coffee. This conspicuous consumption indexes an investment in not just the coffee itself, but also in how the coffee is grown, harvested, roasted, and brewed. At the same time, consumption of specialty coffee reifies the divide between the $.99 cup of coffee and the $5 cup of coffee. This is one way in which forms of stratification tied to wider issues of race and class in the United States become concrete.

The physical spaces that specialty coffee shops and roasters occupy play an important role in the wider landscape of the industry. In many cases, specialty coffee storefronts are opening their doors in urban areas undergoing gentrification. The white yuppies and hipsters at the vanguard of these changes hold an economic status that makes a five dollar cup of coffee affordable, something that in many cases cannot be said for the historical residents of these areas.

The symbiosis between the consumption-based desires of this new upper-middle class and the services provided by the specialty coffee industry creates a situation in which craft industries feed off these larger urban development projects. Gentrification encourages new specialty establishments. At the same time, the existence and proliferation of specialty coffee, in these locations, further encourages gentrification through the availability of the commodities that the new upper-middle class feel they “need”.
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  • Bloomberg talks about Poland's problems with economic growth, notes that McMansions are poor investments, considers what to do about the Olympics post-Rio, looks at new Japanese tax incentives for working women, looks at a French war museum that put its stock up for sale, examines the power of the New Zealand dairy, looks at the Yasukuni controversies, and notes Huawei's progress in China.

  • Bloomberg View is hopeful for Brazil, argues demographics are dooming Abenomics, suggests ways for the US to pit Russia versus Iran, looks at Chinese fisheries and the survival of the ocean, notes that high American population growth makes the post-2008 economic recovery relatively less notable, looks at Emperor Akihito's opposition to Japanese remilitarization, and argues that Europe's soft response to terrorism is not a weakness.

  • CBC notes that Russian doping whistleblowers fear for their lives, looks at how New Brunswick farmers are adapting to climate change, and looks at how Neanderthals' lack of facility with tools may have doomed them.

  • The Globe and Mail argues Ontario should imitate Michigan instead of Québec, notes the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix, and predicts good things for Tim Horton's in the Philippines.

  • The Guardian notes that Canada's impending deal with the European Union is not any model for the United Kingdom.

  • The Inter Press Service looks at child executions in Iran.

  • MacLean's notes that Great Lakes mayors have joined to challenge a diversion of water from their shared basin.

  • National Geographic looks at the elephant ivory trade, considers the abstract intelligence of birds, considers the Mayan calendar's complexities, and looks at how the young generation treats Pluto's dwarf planet status.

  • The National Post notes that VIA Rail is interested in offering a low-cost bus route along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia.

  • Open Democracy notes that the last Russian prisoner in Guantanamo does not want to go home, and wonders why the West ignores the Rwandan dictatorship.

  • TVO considers how rural communities can attract immigrants.

  • Universe Today suggests sending our digital selves to the stars, looks at how cirrus clouds kept early Mars warm and wet, and notes the discovery of an early-forming direct-collapse black hole.

  • Variance Explained looks at how Donald Trump's tweets clearly show two authors at work.

  • The Washignton Post considers what happens when a gay bar becomes a bar with more general appeal.

  • Wired notes that the World Wide Web still is far from achieving its founders' dreams, looks at how news apps are dying off, and reports on the Univision purchase of Gawker.

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  • Bloomberg notes that Brexit might drive British migration to Australia, suggests Russia's recession might be coming to an end, looks at carbon emissions from dead trees, and reports on Guiliani's liking for Blackberry.

  • Bloomberg View notes Israel's tightening restrictions on conversions and looks at how Putin has become a US election issue.

  • CBC notes the construction in Turkey for a cemetery for participants in the recent coup.

  • Gizmodo reports on flickering AR Scorpii, an unusual binary.

  • The Inter Press Service reports on urban land tenure for migrants and describes Malawi's recent translocation of elephants.

  • MacLean's describes the Chinese labourers of the First World War.

  • The National Post notes the marginalization of conservative white men in the Democratic Party.

  • Open Democracy looks at politics for the United Kingdom's Remain minority, looks at Scotland's European options, and suggests Hillary needs to learn from the lessons of Britain's Remain campaign to win.

  • The Toronto Star notes the plans of Tim Horton's to expand to Southeast Asia, starting with the Philippines.

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  • Bloomberg notes the collapse of a Petrobras boomtown in Brazil, notes that Serbian bonds are resistant to Brexit fears because of Serbia's non-membership in the European Union, and wonders about the future of the smartphone market.

  • CBC notes soaring real estate prices in the suburbs of Toronto and Vancouver.

  • The Inter Press Service notes efforts to boost research and development in Africa.

  • MacLean's notes, polemically, the importance of Canadian history in relation to current issues, like interprovincial limits on beer.

  • The National Post notes a Russian initiative to try to promote Siberian settlement by offering its citizens free land, and looks at the decline of tea at the expense of coffee in the United Kingdom.

  • Wired looks at the student art of Siberian indigenous students at a boarding school.

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  • The Boston Globe's The Big Picture shares photos from this year's Boston Marathon.

  • blogTO reports on the proposal to make the lower Don valley a new park.

  • D-Brief notes the impending emergence of cicadas.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to the potentially cataclysmic consequences of very large impacts on early Venus.

  • The Map Room Blog considers the process of mapping Pluto.

  • Shadow, Light & Colour shares adorable photos of turtles at the Brickworks.

  • Spacing Toronto is skeptical of the Special Investigations Unit.

  • Speed River Journal's Van Waffle reports on the success of a men's knitting retreat he organized.

  • Torontoist suggests Parkdale has become an independent coffee mecca.

  • Towleroad notes James Franco's statement that he's a little bit gay.

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My Facebook feed Wednesday night was filled with the complaints of my old Kingston friends that the Sleepless Goat Café, on 91 Princess Street in the heart of Kingston, was going to be closing this weekend, with a special commemoration to be held at the restaurant itself at 7 o'clock this evening. The sad economics behind the closing were described by the Kingston Whig-Standard's Steph Crosier.

The Sleepless Goat, a downtown Kingston business staple for almost 24 years, will be closing its doors for good.

“Rent is super expensive where we’re at and we’ve fallen behind,” Christina Avery, member of the restaurant’s co-operative, said. “We don’t have the money to keep it up.”

The financial drain accumulated over the past couple of months. A lack of traffic is said to be largely to blame.

“I feel like the [Big] Dig really stops the flow of traffic,” Jessica Sebastiano, member of the restaurant’s co-operative, said. “I haven’t crunched numbers, but it’s something I would imagine that has affected it.”

In addition, The Sleepless Goat couldn’t afford to renew its liquor licence, affecting business, and there were mounting building maintenance costs.

“The weather has actually had a big impact on our business. There’s been lots of days that we weren’t able to be open,” Avery said. “People have been illegally downloading things on our Wi-Fi, so we’ve had to shut it off completely or face really huge fines. That was in the fall, and that certainly cut into our business. A lot of people studied and worked here.”

(The Big Dig being referred to is the ongoing reconstruction of Princess Street, being torn up to make way for modern infrastructure.)

The Goat anchors my memories of Kingston. I'd first seen the Goat, and the whole Princess Street stretch, in my first visit to Kingston in spring of 2003, when I was scouting out Queen's University. I liked the Goat: It was a funky independent coffee shop, with good food, great coffee, and an excellent location in the downtown core for students moving east from the Queen's campus. It was one element of what was, at least personally, a very successful year. The last time I blogged about it was in July 2006, when I argued that there was space enough for the Goat to co-exist with a nearby Starbucks, that the two coffee shops would cater to different demographics and there was space enough for both. Apparently, in the end, there was not, or at least not enogh space for the Goat to survive a perfect storm of catastrophe.

I mourn for the Goat. I do hope, as Crozier's article hints, that the Goat could relaunch elsewhere if the right environment could be found, that other people could enjoy the Goat's culture even if their space on Princess Street is no longer available. I would like to enjoy the Goat again. Certainly I haven't in the twelve years since I left Kingston for Toronto, never returning for even a day visit even though Kingston is just a Megabus trip away. Always I had made plans, promising to return to the city where I first lived on my own as an adult where Lake Ontario narrows into the St. Lawrence, one day; one day, I could be sipping coffee at the Goat as I looked over a haul from Wayfarer Books just down the street. That day won't be coming now.
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Wired's Simon Chandler notes the rationale behind Starbucks' expansion into Italy. It is not so much the coffee as it is the venue.

The news that Starbucks is set to invade Italy in 2017 has left an equal measure of horrified Italians and bemused commentators in its wake. Opening a branch in Milan early next year, the Seattle multinational will apparently attempt the impossible and the needless: selling Italian-style coffee to the nation it stole the idea of Italian-style coffee from in the first place.

Given that Italy is globally renowned for its coffee culture, and given that it’s already taken steps to prevent the adulteration of this culture at the hands of Starbucks-esque globalization, it’s little wonder that a raft of objections from Italian patriots and sympathizers followed the Seattle giant’s announcement.

[. . .]

Amid the reports of horror and confusion, pundits declared that Starbucks was entering its most intimidating market yet, underlining the steep challenge the company will face in establishing a niche for itself in the home of the espresso, the cappuccino, the latte, and all those other drinks that wouldn’t sound quite as appealing if they were called coffee, foamy coffee, and milky coffee.

And yet, as improbable as the idea of Starbucks being successful in Italy must surely sound, there’s every chance that it will find a footing for itself in the ‘home of coffee.’ Yes, the chain may arguably sell inferior versions of what Italians can already buy cheaply on every street corner of their homeland, but the simple fact that many have missed in all the furor surrounding the coffeehouse’s announcement is that beverages are not the only thing it sells.

In fact, coffee and its accessories may not even be the main thing the Seattle chain serves to the public. As other commentators have noted, and as revelations on the choice of venue for a first date have attested, a big chunk of Starbucks’ success resides with the ambiance and environment it provides. That is, it doesn’t simply offer its customers buckets of coffee, but also a kind of neutral, inoffensive space that’s familiar enough to be comforting, yet blank and generic enough to lend itself to whatever meaning people want to project on it.
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Bloomberg's Yoga Rusmana and Eko Listiyorini note that El Nino is set to hurt Indonesia's coffee crop.

Coffee production in Indonesia will probably drop 20 percent next year from a record as the strongest El Nino in almost two decades hurts crops in the world’s third-largest producer of robusta beans.

The harvest may slide to 560,000 metric tons in the year starting April 1 from 700,000 tons this year, according to the median of estimates from six traders and analysts compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the steepest decline since the 2006-07 season, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

A smaller Indonesian crop will potentially widen a global deficit of the beans used by companies including used by Nestle SA, and support prices that slumped 20 percent last year. El Nino is largely responsible for the dryness in the fourth quarter of 2015 in Indonesia, according to Rabobank International. The weather event has hampered cocoa crops in Ivory Coast, curbed the monsoon in India and forced the Philippines to import more rice.

“Dryness in Indonesia is textbook El Nino,” Carlos Mera Arzeno, commodities analyst at Rabobank in London, said by e-mail Jan. 13. “We expect robusta prices to go up to above $1,580 a ton by mid 2016, as a double-whammy of a lower robusta crop in Brazil and in Indonesia hits the market from April onward,” he said.
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Bryan Lufkin's extended history of the Internet cafe at Gizmodo was enlightening. I've taken advantage of them before, still do even: The one at Bloor and Dufferin I use as a print shop, when needed.

In the February 17, 1993 edition of the Washington Post, writer John Boudreau filed a story from San Francisco headlined “A Cuppa and a Computer: Coffeehouse Cyberpunks Seek Love and the Meaning of Life.”

Boudreau described how the bohemian cafes that birthed SF’s Beatnik scene had morphed into 20 nondescript coffee houses full of low tables with inlaid keyboards, where computers connected visitors to other coffee houses scattered in San Francisco and Berkeley. These places were part of a new communications network called SF Net, which provided an online (and real life) forum that connected everyone from “twenty-something slackers” to “physicists,” who rocked screen names like Warlock Scar and Ultra Crab. It was an era when the internet was still being described as an “electronic bulletin board.”

What did people do on SF Net? They flirted, they waxed existential, posted short stories, and role-played fake personas (the Post story mentions one regular who appeared as a 14th-century Pope).

SF Net was founded a year-and-a-half earlier, in 1991, by a 35-year-old San Franciscan named Wayne Gregori. At that time, the network serviced 900 regulars in the Bay Area—half of which were home subscribers, and half logged on at coffee houses, which charged fifty cents for eight minutes of computer use. They also provided plastic keyboard covers to shield keys from spilled cups of Joe.
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If McDonald's can make the transition described by the Toronto Star's Lisa Wright, the more power to them. McDonald's coffee really is very good, you know.

When he started out at McDonald’s in 1970, John Betts never pictured grilled cheese would one day be on the menu, let alone Campbell’s chicken soup or chocolate chunk brownies.

And soy lattes were absolutely unheard of back when the chief executive of McDonald’s Canada was flipping burgers in Southampton, New York.

Just don’t ask for a Big Mac at Canada’s first standalone McCafe, which opens this morning at Union Station, followed by a new 19-seat cafe to be launched in January at First Canadian Place.

“A cup of coffee got us here today. It’s an amazing story because we’re a hamburger place,” Betts said in an interview Tuesday, as the finishing touches were being put on the chain’s splashy new café in the York concourse.

He explained it’s a natural progression from the 138 million free cups of coffee McDonald’s Canada has handed out to customers since its popular brew launched in 2009, when he took the helm of the stagnating burger brand.


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